Three Years Later, Deleted Facebook Pictures Remain online

Be careful what you post on the Internet! In a story they’ve been reporting on for the past three years, Ars Technica proves that some photos “deleted” from user’s Facebook accounts are still accessible online. While links to the images themselves were immediately removed from connecting Facebook pages, the ‘physical’ image file remains on servers, happily accessible to the Internet via URL.

myspace-my-deleted-friendsAs for Facebook? They claim they are working on a new system that will actualy delete the stuff you delete “within the next month or two, at which point we will verify the migration is complete and we will disable all the old content." Because… deleting stuff is hard?

I wouldn’t hold you breath. Deleted images lead to broken links which means fewer people clicking through to Facebook. For a company that just went public with a to the tune of $5 billion, that last thing Facebook needs is any drop in Internet traffic.

Here are links to both the original article (which, funny enough, also checks up on the then relevant MySpace) and the recent follow-up from Ars.

Drivable R2-D2 Makes Wishes Come True

As we’ve said before here on GUO, geeks come in all ages!

The Make-A-Wish foundation in conjunction with Little Mountain Productions made Mathew’s dreams come true by delivering this drivable, larger than life R2-D2 in a surprise reveal during a school assembly.

This amazing replica  is controlled with a joystick inside and has huge on and off buttons inside. There’s also a parental powered kill switch should getting Mat back out again ever be required.

You can donate to the Make-A-Wish foundation on their web page.

Better than Free-to-Play, Star Trek Online Pays You to Play with Player Run Dilithium Market

star trek online spaceHave you ever looked over the DLC for your favorite game and tried to justify the price? Man, it sure would be nice to have that rainbow colored lancer skin in Gears of War 3, but, seriously, you want me to pay for it? I already spent $60 on the game, $30 on the season pass, and now you want to juice me for ANOTHER 320 points (however much that is)! Can’t we work out some kind of deal here? Look, I’ll tell ya what: I’ll promise to play three online matches every night for the next couple of weeks, doing what I enjoy while propping up your player base, and you agree to give me the stupid rainbow chainsaw gun. Deal?

Not likely, right?

The odds on striking the above arrangement seem even less likely when we look at the free-to-play arena. Commercial games have the income provided by retail sales. Obviously, this does not apply to titles who give away their base product. No one in their right mind would give away all of the little micro-transaction goodies that cover the ongoing expenses of servers operation, bandwidth, and employee costs. Yet Star Trek Online does exactly that.

So what manner of mental illness has afflicted Cryptic Studios and Perfect World International, the companies behind the free-to-play MMO of Trekkers dreams?

Huge Estimate Of Rogue Planets Made | Out Of This World Weekly

When we usually think of planets, an image of planets circling around their parent star pops to mind. These planets are usually imagined to orbit their host star until that star becomes unstable and vaporizes the planets in a huge explosion. Now, researchers at KIPAC have proposed that this view of planets is by far less common than previously thought. Using gravitational microlensing to make their estimate, they concluded that there may be 100,000 rogue planets for every star in the Milky Way. These rogue planets may have once had a star but now wander freely through space, no longer orbiting any star. This new estimate is huge in comparison to the amount of planets thought to be orbiting stars, which was last thought to be 1.6 planets per star.

Lab Grown Meat May Soon Be Common

Scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands are focused on growing hamburgers.  The odd thing is that they are not planning on growing an animal to produce the hamburger but rather growing the meat in a laboratory dish.  They have used stem cells which have the ability to grow into any type of cell, to grow strips of muscle.  When they have enough of these muscle strips, they plan on adding artificial fat and blood and making the world’s first laboratory grown hamburger.  They even plan on hiring a celebrity chef to cook it. 

This Breathalyzer Tests for Lung Cancer

Metabolomx, a biomedical startup in California, United States, is moving into the clinical trial phase of it’s new breathalyzer. Unlike those pocket soothsayers used by police that determine if you’re going to jail or not, this breathalyzer determines if you’re potentially destined for an early afterlife or not.

breath_x616

Metabolomx’s new invention can identify lung cancer in patients with an 83% accuracy. The system is also capable of determining the differences between several types of lung cancer. While 83% may not sound like a great accuracy rating, current lung cancer tests are not very accurate either.

The device runs works by detecting chemicals in the patient’s breath as a result of the tumor being metabolized into the blood stream. This is the same method of detection used by cancer-sniffing dogs to detect afflicted patients.

Source: Technology Review

Blackberry Playbook OS 2 Finally Released

tablet turkeyJust shy of it’s one year anniversary (and several months after it’s death as a commercially viable tablet), the Blackberry Playbook finally gets an official release of version 2 of it’s operating system.

This new OS for the not-exactly-famed tablet finally adds native features to the tablet that once required a bridge to a Blackberry phone. What revolutionary computing tasks does this new system bring to the tablet? Amazing features such as scheduling, an address book, and email! Shocking!

A few other new features make their Blackberry debut with OS 2 as well. Social networking integration with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is now on board. There is also a new Bridge app that will allow the Playbook to act as a HID (Human Interface Device (ie. mouse or keyboard)) over Bluetooth. A new Android VM system will also allow limited compatibility with apps from that other, more alive operating system.

So… that’s that. Congrats to RIM for bringing the functionality of the once $600+ tablet up to par with decade old Nokia phones. You can read more from someone who still gives a crap about the Blackberry Playbook over at Inside Blackberry

PS: We kid! We kid because we love!

PPS: Except in this case. Screw you Blackberry Playbook! Sheesh, even my $99 Android tab got email…

MMO Game Eve Online Beats Lag by Changing the Meaning of Time

eve online big battleLag is a constant problem in any online game. Taking any number of players with varying connection speeds and distances to a central server, processing user interactions, and sending the resulting data back before the next set of actions occurs takes quite a bit of hi-tech sorcery. Most massively multi-player games simply try to update as fast a possible and hope the servers don’t crash. The number of players in any given area are frequently restricted by creating ‘instances’, or alternate game worlds, run on different servers.

CCP Games, creators of the space faring MMORPG Eve Online, decided they would have none of that. Eve features a single, persistent universe of 5,000 solar systems for its hundreds of thousands of players to share. In a universe where more than seven million missiles are created every hour leading to 14,502 players exploding every day, there is quite a lot of data to process and share out to quite a few players. So how does CCP manage to keep everyone in synch? They change the rules of the universe.

A few months ago Eve Online began to utilize a “Time Dilation” (TiDi) technology to keep the game updating on time for everyone (and prevent servers from bursting into flames) through even the fiercest of firefights between hundreds of players firing missiles and launching fighters across multiple star systems. Game lag and mysteriously teleporting players are eliminated by dynamically slowing down time to keep everyone running smoothly. Senior programmer “Veritas” explains in a blog post:

graph2“The thing to notice here in both cases is that modules were not allowed to lag very much.  When the delay spikes up, TiDi kicks in, then the delay goes away.  Happy news for anyone interested in making lazors go pewpewpew or reppers go, well, whatever they go.  In both huge fights here, the module response time was kept under one second for the vast majority of the action, which is a tremendously large improvement over the 20, 40, 600 seconds we’d sometimes see in fights of this scale.”

Star Wars: Book of Sith Delivers a Holocron’s Worth of Fan Service Goodies at 40% off

Star Wars fans, it is once again  time to get your wallets out. Coming to you from a galaxy far away by way of publisher 47North, the Vault Edition of Book of Sith delivers a whole lot more than a book about sci-fi’s most notorious baddies.

Packed in a replica Holocron, the Valut opens at the touch of a button, complete with light and sound effects. A motorized tray slowly presents the striking red tome filled with the ‘wisdom’ of five pivotal Sith texts as collected by Darth Sidious. Underneath the Book lies relics of the nefarious ne'er-do-wells: a Sith lightsaber crystal and a Nightsister talisman. Rounding out the package are a piece of a Sith burial shroud, battle map from the Great Galactic War, a note from Luke Skywalker, Empire propaganda mini-poster, and a diagram of Palpatine’s plans during The Clone Wars

While the Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side-Vault Edition carries a list price of $100, we were able to find these on sale at Amazon for $60.

Verizon Fios Pulls Plug on FUNimation Anime Channel

Man yanking electrical cordCable television companies are in a fight for their lives. Much like every other form of content publishing and delivery in the 21st century, cable television providers are are teetering on the brink of irrelevancy as the Internet proves to become the One True Cable. The question these linear programming providers should be asking themselves is: “How do we best serve our customers? What services can we provide that Internet cannot?” Apparently Verizon’s answer is to cancel unique, niche programming you don’t often see online.

Verizon has announced that they will stop broadcasting FUNimation Channel "on, or after March 15." This move comes mere months after the news Verizon will be scaling back Fios fiber optic network expansion in lieu of building out it’s wireless business.

The FUNimation Channel has been one of the few TV channels we actually use here at the GUO homestead. The Mrs. has called it her source of Saturday morning cartoons. While there are a number of great online destinations for getting anime streaming online, very few offer the English dubbed versions of the shows like FUNimation Channel did. At a time when we have already spent a great deal of thought discussing the possibility of ‘cutting the cord’, this announcement may very well prove to be the final straw. When one third of your programming is canceled, that bill is pretty hard to justify.

Looking At Forests From Space | Out Of This World Weekly

In yet another way that Earth benefits from space, a new map of the Earth’s forests has been made from the data collected from NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land elevation Satellite (ICESat).  This satellite used it’s light detection and ranging instrument (LIDAR) to measure the height of the Earth’s forests at a resolution of 1 kilometer.  This data was combined with data previously collected from NASA’s Terra satellite, NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, and the WorldClim database to form the best map available of the Earth’s forests and their height.  This map was also validated at 70 points across the globe by detailed ground studies to verify accuracy. 

Re-Releases of Original 1st Edition AD&D Rule Books to Feature Disappointing Covers

Last month Wizards of the Coast announced they would be reprinting the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks as part of a fundraiser for the Gygax Memorial Fund. While the books are still on track for an April release and promising to feature all of the original pages from the legendary tomes, the covers have been drastically altered for the new editions.

New ADD Players Guide Covers

Okay, maybe not "drastically altered” so much as “almost completely painted over”.

While I was expecting some modifications to the covers identifying these special editions as being… well, special editions, I can’t help but feel disappointed about so much of the original, iconic art that graced the originals being removed. Do we really need books dressed up to look like books? Was this really a problem? “Ooo, what’s this strange picture propped up on a shelf in the bookstore. Oh, my! It’s a book!”

The original cover of The Players Guide pictured above told a story. The new one is simply filler. It is an afterthought put there just because they had to put something on the cover. It is evocative of nothing.

monster manual rerelease cover

Looking at the (admittedly atrocious) art of the original Monster Manual we see another drastic change in context. What was once a land full of adventure is now just another faux leather game book with a dragon on the front, indistinguishable from dozens of others. If this is what passes for, in the words of Wizards of the Coast, “attractive new cover design” then the future is much more dull than I ever could have guessed.

Also curiously missing from the new covers is any mention of the Gygax Memorial or the legacy of these titles. What’s this? A new Monster Manual?  Who cares, just give us your cash because you buy everything we put Dungeons and Dragons on. We even made it look like the last dozen so it’ll fit in with your collection and you’ll never know it’s there. Is the celebratory purpose of these books being republished not worthy of mention on the cover?

I’m not going to fly into a Nerd Rage over this. After all, most of us were raised not to judge a book by its cover. These new-old editions are a rare treat and, depending on your point of view, for a worthy cause. However, this ol’ dice rolling geek can’t help but feel more than a little let down about the first peek of what should have been a celebration of nostalgia. It is a shame that the only new piece of content Wizards chose to create for these “limited-edition reprints of the original 1st Edition” show so little of the love and reverence that the intended buyers surely have.

Source: GeekDad

PS: Gamma Worldgammaworld1st2ndbox

Sony Moves to Turn Bad CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays into TVs with SoRPlas

Not every optical that rolls off of an assembly line is perfect. Many are defective and don’t pass a quality assurance test. Some even have Michael Bay Transformer movies on them. So what to do with all these busted irrevocably spoiled disks, as well as the excess material the disk is cut from?

Sony has created a new form of recycled plastic they are using in current and upcoming products. Awkwardly named SoRPlas (Sony Recycled Plastic), this new form of plastic is created by combing the excess materials from optical disk production with a sulfur based flame retardant, making devices that are ‘greener’ and fire resistant. SorPlas has already been used in the front bezels of the Bravia line of LCD TVs launched in March 2011, boosting the recycled plastic content from an industry average of 10-30% to a whopping 99%.

Sony also expects the production of SoRPlas to cut the CO2 emissions of their plastic manufacturing production by around 80%. SoRPlas is just the latest development from Sony as they attempt to become a greener, “carbon neutral” company.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Now Streaming on Crunchyroll

Madoka magicaThe surprise worldwide hit Madoka Magica is finally getting a streaming release. As of today you can check out Gen Urobuchi’s twisted take on classic magical girl anime for the low price of nothing without ever leaving your home. This is the original Japanese language version of the show with English subtitles. New episodes will be released every Wednesday 10AM PST (12PM CST / 1PMEST).
Check it out over at Crunchyroll.com, via free app for iOS and Android, or even supported set-top boxes (Roku, Boxee, etc.).

Weekly Episodes of Star Trek Return with Star Trek Online’s “The 2800”

A good portion of my life has been spent waiting with baited breath for the next weekly adventure taking place where no one has gone before. Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment brings back that old anticipation with an all new Star Trek story in their free to play MMO, Star Trek Online .

Star  trek online rotterdamPremiering every Saturday at 10AM PST for the next few weeks, a brand new episode of the interactive version of Roddenberry’s sci-fi classic will be made available for everyone to play. So, what’s been going down in the world of treacherous Klingons and prolific Tribbles since the last time? Plenty, as it turns out. And none of it good.

The 2600 opens with the major empires, both friend and foe, gathered together on space station Deep Space Nine for a diplomatic conference about the Borg onslaught they are currently facing. It seems that if something isn’t done soon, the Borg will be successful in their quest to assimilate the entire Alpha Quadrant in three years time. While this problem itself is certainly cause for alarm, the conference is interrupted by the sudden opening of a wormhole harkening the arrival of a Dominion battle fleet, the titular 2800.

This is Star Trek just as you remember it. The Cardassians are still slime balls, the Ferengi are looking to rip everyone off, and barely comprehensible made-up techno-sounding jargon is slung around as if it made sense. The 2800 is a fine return to the classic setting of the franchise that may have strayed a bit too far from it’s roots with the latest theatrical film’s alternate take on the universe.

In addition to the new story episodes, Star Trek Online is offering special rewards to those that complete the adventures in their original one week release window including a special set of Jem'Hadar themed items. A limited edition run of Cardassian mystery boxes have also been added to the game’s already expansive list of loot. Some of these boxes contain a variety of the game’s premium items such as pet Hortas, Deep Space Nine Costumes, or a playable limited edition Cardassian Galor ship.

You can play Star Trek Online for free. Sign up and download at StarTrekOnline.com.

World’s First Computer is Shopping for a New Home

colossus2UK's National Museum of Computing is trying to raise £150,000 for a new gallery in which to display their rebuilt Colossus, one of the world’s first computers.

Colossus was the world's first electronic, digital, programmable computer. Colossus and its successors were used by British code breakers to help read encrypted German messages during World War II. 2,500 Vacuum tubes were used to perform the calculations. Colossus didn't have an electronic memory, but instead relied on long strips of paper tape with holes punched in it that would blast through the machine at nearly 50 miles an hour. The computer itself could operate even faster than this, but the tape would disintegrate. The giant machine could crack German codes in hours rather than the weeks needed by manual decryption.

In order to raise the funds needed for for a new gallery in which to show off this modern marvel of yesteryear, the UK’s National Museum of Computing is allowing generous souls to sponsor the various valves of Colossus by buying pixels on their website at £10 a section. You can help out at ColossusOnline.org.

Source: Dvice

On Japanese Valentine’s Day, Girls Give Boys Chocolate

japan_fashion_creative_valentine%2527s day_romantic_2012_february_14_couples_honmei_giri_tomo_jibun_chocolate_marshmallow_cute_fumiko kawa_10_largeIn the west, today is a day where men everywhere scramble to their local drug store muttering prayers to any divine being listening that there’s still some candy left to be had. In the east, however, it is the women who are under the gun.

Yes, today in the Land of the Rising Sun, females everywhere are doing the scrambling. Valentine’s Day is a day where girls normally too shy to express their love have an opportunity to give gifts (usually chocolate) to the target of their fancy, among others. Wait… Others?

You see, getting chocolate from a girl does not necessarily mean you’ve found a new Twister partner.Giri choco (literally translated as “obligation chocolate”) is given to many men in the giftee’s life such as friends, bosses, co-workers, and family. It is the high quality, more expensive honmei choco (“true feeling chocolate”) that is presented to the object of adoration. It used to be in fashion for honmei choco to be homemade as a labor of love.

As for the men, it is their job to eat all the candy. The true test of knowing if a young woman’s warm feelings are reciprocated is if the lucky recipient can drop his macho visage long enough to scarf down a whole box of the sweet treats.

My Pixelated Valentine: Gaming’s Top 5 Heartthrobs

4222580-valentine-pixel-hearts-couple-vector-illustrationHere at GUO we have a passion for pixels! In celebration of the annual love fest known throughout the world as St. Valentine’s Day, we analyzed the annals of gaming (Stop snickering!) and picked our Top 5 hunkiest heroes and sexiest sirens to ever share an adventure with you.


Space Makes You Old | Out Of This World Weekly

Space has many effects on the human body. When you take all of these effects and put them together, they are similar to the effects of aging. Most recently, NASA has been research on the eyes of astronauts. It seems that space travel makes your vision bad. More precisely, it seems to lower the clarity of near and far vision due to refractory changes from a flattening of the globe and it causes extra pressure on the optic nerve due to intra-cranial pressure. The longer you are in space, the worse the effects on the astronaut’s eyes. NASA has even started sending up some astronauts with up-prescription glasses in anticipation of eyesight degradation. It seems that the effects of space travel for several months can have the effect of eyesight aging several or many years on Earth but that’s not the only thing that’s affected.

When Over-Merchandised Brands Collide…

I just don’t even know where to start with this one…

Sanrio has partnered with rock band Kiss to create a sickening morass of worn out, over-marketed merchandising hell so dark that it is a miracle that the image below does not collapse in upon itself with the shriek of a thousand murdered cash cows.

hello kitty kiss

Yes, these Kiss Hello Kitty dolls are real, officially endorsed, and, hopefully, contained to Japan.

Blame ANN for the news.

Printed Computers Could Allow Computing On Everything

The latest fashion in miniature computing is to print out computer components on stickers. Yes, like those stickers of fruit, smiley faces, or stars that you used to play with as a kid. The reasoning behind this is to make limited, disposable computers that will be able to perform very specific functions. Like what, you ask? Well, like to determine food spoilage. A sticker computer would be able to track temperature on food products throughout packaging and shipping so that products can be guaranteed fresh. If spoilage is detected, the contributing factors can be tracked down and the system improved in the future. These sticker computers should cost tens of cents due to the ability to print large numbers of them quickly and would replace some types of non-computing sensors that perform similar functions.




This venture is being headed by Xerox also using the talents of Norwegian based Thin Film Electronics to bring printed computing to life. Some of the benefits of printed electronics over traditional silicon electronics include the ability to roll and bend devices without them breaking. This would include bendable video screens and wearable computers. The inflexibility of computers today has us using little boxy devices with flat surfaces. Unfortunately, most objects that we commonly use simply aren’t flat and boxy. When incorporating computers into these types of devices, it would be far easier and more aesthetically pleasing to be able to be able to make the computer fit into an available area without changing the look of whatever it is that you are using. Toys would benefit from this type of design while utensils, clothes and tools would also. Just about anything that has a specific design that would be better without having a little box attached to it could also use this type of printed computer. It is certain that printed computers will make incorporating computing into specialized applications easier and allow expanded functionality in other small computing applications currently in use.

Google Looking to Pay for Tracking You Across the Internet

google-dollarNow this I like! I’ve always ranted about companies harvesting personal information to be sold as marketing data to the highest bidder *cough*Facebook*cough*. I’ve frequently joked that they need to bust me off a slice of that cheese if they want my stuff. Shockingly, that is exactly what Google has decided to do.

For its new Screen Wise Panel, The Big G is looking to entice Web surfers into installing a Chrome browsing add-on that tracks usage habits. You agree to give up all semblance of privacy to Google’s partner, Knowledge Networks, and they’re going to slip you a fiver for use at Amazon.com every three months.

So, not only is Google willing to pay for tracking you across the Internet (which they do anyway whenever you don’t uncheck a box agreeing to “help make Google better” in an app), but they are actually asking for once. How will people respond to this bold new approach?

At the time of this writing, the ScreenWise Panel sign-up page has been closed due to ‘overwhelming interest’.

Scotch Whiskey May Hold the Secret to Gassing Up Without Oil

scotchYa gotta love Scotland! Not only are they the masters of the tummy-warming, liver-shredding liquor Scotch, they just may be able to create the next great biofuel from the waste generated by the process.

Celtic Renewables in looking to commercialize a process for producing biofuel made from the byproducts of whiskey production. Utilizing the spent whiskey mash and the pot ale liquid byproduct of the fermentation process, researchers have created a new type of biofuel called Bibutanal. Bibutanal is notable as it is a direct replacement for gasoline and requires no engine modification to existing machines.

The discovery is a win-win for Scotland. Malt whiskey is currently a 6.3 billion dollar juggernaut for the country. In addition, the Scottish government has been making a huge push towards alternate energy sources and plans to be have 100% of the nation’s electricity needs met with clean energy by 2020. Professor Martin Tangney, Founder of Celtic Renewables and Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Napier University, notes that byproducts from the whiskey industry would reduce Scotland’s reliance on oil, cut carbon emissions, and provide security in case of a global energy crisis.

Source: TG Daily

Charity Trivia Game FreeRice Expands with World Landmarks Game Mode

freerice landmarksIn case you missed the article or that big ol’ banner up top, this is World FreeRice week where we spread the word about a great gaming charity out to feed the world!

Now there’s one more reasaon to click on over to FreeRice.com and contribute to the World Food Programme while playing free games: FreeRice has added a whole new mode. From their blog:

That's right! By popular demand, we have new subjects. Today we launched "World Landmarks" in English, as well as French ("Monuments mondiaux") and Spanish ("Monumentos y sitios del mundo").

You can also now play Flags of the World in Italian ("Bandiere del mondo").

And if that wasn't enough to make you smile: this Friday, February 10, we will launch 4 more subjects for each of the languages mentioned above. What are they? Well, for now that's a secret. Make sure to check out the Freerice blog on Friday to find out!

Play games, get smarter, and feed the world at FreeRice.com.

3D Printers Create Shiny New Titanium Jaw for 83 Year-Old Woman

Ah, 3D printers, is there anything they can’t do? Toothbrush holder? Piece of cake. Hermit crab shells? You betcha. Toys for the kids? Pfft, like we’d cover it if they didn’t? Turn Grandma into a James Bond super-villain? Faster and easier than ever before!

lower-jaw-3d-printed2The University of Hasselt in Belgium announced that scientists have successfully replaced the lower jaw of a 83 year-old woman with a 3D printed titanium prosthesis after her old-school flesh and bone model had to be removed due to an infection. This is the first 3D printed implant in the world to replace an entire lower jaw. Normally the construction of a custom fitted prosthesis of this kind would take days to manufacture. The University was able to create this bionic jaw in hours.
The 3D printer used was not your hobbyist class MakerBot. Built by LayerWise in Belgium, this printer converts objects from 3D models to reality using a laser to fuse particles of titanium dust together one line at a time. At 33 layers per millimeter, that’s a whole lotta of printing! The final product was given bioceramic coating compatible with the patient’s tissue and weighs in at 107 grams, only 30 grams heavier than a natural jaw.

The elderly woman was talking and swallowing only one day later.

"Computer technology is causing a revolution in medical industry", said professor Jules Poukens from BIOMED. "A traditional surgery takes up to 20 hours, and the patient should definitely stay 2 to 4 weeks in the hospital. But this operation lasted four hours and the woman could go home after four days."

Source: 3Ders.org

Public Voting Opens for 14th Independent Games Festival (IGF)

Fingle her goodThe 2012 Independent Games Festival has opened its virtual polling stations for fans to weigh in on their favorite titles from the past year. This is a fine opportunity for everyone to try out some the greatest unsung indies from the most talented of garage programmers practicing the art. This year’s voting finally opens its arms to titles not native to the Windows platform as well.

Some of the titles running for a spot on the finalist roster include the charming action/strategy Atom Zombie Smasher, thoughtful adventure title To The Moon, the innovative comic book puzzle game Storyteller, challenging platformer Spelunky, iPad party game Fingle, and TONS more (some of which I would be hard pressed to even describe!).

Many of the games are free and even playable through your browser. Check out the most innovative showcase for the digital arts today and vote for your favorite at IGF.com.

CG Pop Star Hatsune Miku Collapses Putting 61 Year Old Woman in Hospital

snow mikuProving that even computer generated pop stars can be as dangerous to the community as flesh-and-blood ones, Hatsune Miku put a 61-year-old woman in the hospital.

A 6-foot tall snow sculpture of the virtual, Vocaloid idol on display in Sapporo, Japan collapsed on Tuesday sending chucks of frozen debris flying through the air and into the back of an elderly sightseer who was taken to the hospital.

The collapse is being blamed on a overnight rise in temperatures. Crypton Future Media President Hiroyuki Itoh express his company's regret and sympathies for the incident. He went on to vow that a new snow sculpture will be built

Source: ANN

NASA Launches Space Race Blast Off, A Trivia Review Game for Facebook

nasa facebook gameWell, well. It looks like we have a new Facebook game developer breaking into the market. Sure, this happens all the time but today it is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as N.A.S.A.

Space Race Blast Off is a trivia game that randomly matches you against two other players in a game-show styled trivia contest. Players can also invite members of their friends list to play. All questions are multiple choice with three possible answers and come from a variety of categories including astronomy, chemistry, spacecraft, and even sci-fi focused pop culture.

Feed the World while Feeding Your Brain with 6 Degrees of FreeRice: Games, Prizes, and a Good Cause.

freeRice4Welcome to World FreeRice Week!

Free Rice is a browser trivia game where you answer questions from the fields of math, English, geography, chemistry, the arts, and even foreign language learning. The goal is to progress through 60 increasingly difficult levels while gaining grains of rice for correct answers.

The twist is that the rice you earn is not merely a score indicator. Each grain of virtual rice you accrue donates 10 grains of real rice to World Food Programme, the largest organization fighting hunger.

What could be better, right? Well, how about the 6 Degrees of FreeRice special event where you can compete to win Flip cameras and T-shirts! You may know the 6 Degrees of Separation theory: You and I are connected to every other person on earth through, at most, six other people. How about letting those six people know about World FreeRice Week and together see if we can end world hunger. Sound lofty? We won’t know until we try!

So, come on! Put the Facebook games and Xbox controllers aside for six days. All the overpriced DLC and Zynga spam will be waiting for you when you get back. Round up six friends and play a game where the score really matters for a change. Log on to FreeRice.com, change the world, become smarter, and win cool stuff.

FreeRice has over one million registered players answering nearly 2.5 million trivia questions every day. Recently Freerice was named one of the best charity sites of 2011 by Netted, an online publication from the creators of The Webbys, the Internet’s foremost ‘Best of the Web’ awards.

Save the world for free at FreeRice.com

IBEX Mission Shows Us What Lies Beyond Our Solar System | Out Of This World Weekly

The IBEX Space Probe has been studying the area outside of our Solar System.  It’s currently in an orbit about 5/6ths of the way to the Moon so it can detect particles coming in from interstellar space without interference from Earth’s electromagnetic field.  Researchers have found that the space that lies within our Solar System is not quite like the space that is outside of our Solar System.  It seems that there is quite a bit more oxygen within our solar system.  The cause of this isn’t precisely known but it’s thought that this is due to our solar system forming in a different region of space than it now exists in.  This could easily have been caused by the rotation of the Sun around the Galaxy center, which happens about every 225 Million years.  The excess oxygen could also have come from the large amounts of water that is contained both in the inner Solar System on planets like Earth and in the outer Solar System Kupier belt, or because oxygen is being captured in the Oort Cloud of comets. outside the Solar System. 

So there is a little more oxygen in our Solar System, what does that matter?  Well, if we are ever going to venture beyond our own star then we need to know how the conditions differ in interstellar space.  We already know that there is a much higher occurrence of deadly cosmic rays as soon as you venture beyond the Heliopause and Bow Shock, which could severely affect both life and equipment.  We are currently sending both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes to the edges of our Solar System to find out what they can but they have been traveling for about 45 years to get there and they weren’t designed specifically for this mission.  With travel times like that, it’s not likely that we are going to send another probe to the edge of the Solar System anytime soon.  Any information that we can find about interstellar space is going to be useful because all of our actual exploration has been done inside our Solar System.  The important thing is that we now we know there is a difference, we can now find out why this happens and exactly how this will affect us. 

SpaceX Test Fires New SuperDraco Rocket Engine

SpaceX DragonSpaceX posted a video from the testing of their new SuperDraco engines for the upcoming Dragon capsule. This is just the latest entry in the company’s publicity drive as they prepare to become the first privately owned space transportation provider.

The SuperDraco engine will not actually be used to launch a vessel into orbit. Instead, these new engines are designed for use as thrusters for the capsule itself. SpaceX claims that the new SuperDraco engine will make the Dragon capsule the safest and, potentially, most maneuverable spacecraft yet designed. In SpaceX’s latest press release, CEO and Chief Technology Officer Elon Musk says “These engines will power a revolutionary launch escape system that will make Dragon the safest spacecraft in history and enable it to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.”

The SuperDraco engine is  the first rocket engine to be fueled by kerosene as opposed to today’s standard solid rocket fuel. Kerosene provides two major advantages: It burns cleaner and costs a good deal less. In addition, SpaceX states that the new engine will be reusable as opposed to the rocket engines of today.

iModela iM-01 Mini Mill is 3D Printing Backwards

iM-01From Japanese printer manufacturer Roland comes the iModela 3D Modeling Machine. the iModela bucks the trend of most other 3D printers in laying down layer upon layer of plastic and instead creates items by carving your widget of choice from  a block of material.

This miniature milling machine works with a number of materials such as wax, Styrofoam, balsa wood, and even plastic. With a milling area of 3.39 inches wide, 2.17 inches long, and 1.02 inches high, iModela is the perfect tool for creating new parts for your favorite cuckoo clock the kids just broke. The computer controlled milling action of the iModela also makes it ideal for activities impossible for 3D printers, such as engraving.

The iModela is available now direct for $899. Roland has also launched iCreate, a community hub where users can freely share compatible 3D models of their favorite designs.

Vin Diesel Posts Pics From the Set of the Third Riddick Movie

Normally I don’t post a lot of movie stuff, but the Mrs. would be in quite a tiff if she knew I had seen this and not spread the word ;)

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Muscley macho movie man Vin Diesel has personally posted an early look at the forthcoming third flick in the Riddick franchise. On his Facebook page, Vin reminisces:

First time I posted about Riddick was back in 2009, Facebook was fresh...
They were asking me to come to the headquarters to talk about this new concept of communicating with fans. I was proud to lead that wave, yet all I was doing, was opening up about my passion - film.

So this picture of Our 2012 production of Riddick, is a cool victory for all of us... it shows that studios can be influenced by your voice.

P.s. Proud of Our Riddick team.

The third Riddick film is rumored to be a 2012 release and shooting for an R rating. Early details of the sequel to Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick promise a return to the style first title in the series and leaves the titular character left for dead on a desolate world full of monsters and mercenaries hungry for Furian blood.

Check out more on Vin’s Facebook page.

NASA Posts First Ever Video from the Far Side of the Moon

NASA’s experimental new GRAIL satellite imaging system has paid off in spades. Here is the first ever video from the side of the moon that never faces Earth!

Blame Pink Floyd for the misconception, but the far side of the moon is not actually dark. In fact, due to the same side always facing the Earth, the far side of the moon is covered in sunlight every time we see (or rather, don’t see) a new moon. The Russian launched Luna 3 took the first pictures of the far side in 1959 and several Apollo missions orbited around the back, but until now no craft has taken anything other than still pictures.

Star Trek Online 2-Year Anniversary Event Begins Featuring Q and Free Ships

STO 2nd AnniversaryCryptic Studios has just launched their two year anniversary event for the MMO Star Trek Online. Running from February 2nd through the 6th, players can visit Earth Spacedock (or Qo’noS for those that roll Klingon style) and have a chat with Captain Picard’s legendary foil Q. Party Poppers will be given away for players to run amok with and Mystery Boxes are available upon completion of Q’s quest/mini-game.

In addition to Q’s event, characters level 5 or better can check in with Engineer Kani on Earth Spacedock or Engineer Tum’Era on Qo’noS for the opportunity to take a new flagship class starship out for a shakedown cruise. Characters completing the shakedown mission will get to keep the ship, but cannot use it again until they reach level 50.

Star Trek Online is free to play for everyone. Sign up at StarTrekOnline.com.

…and, yes, I am still very much hooked. Send friend requests to @ryte2byte Winking smile

Lifelike Robot Mannequin Uses Microsoft Kinect to React to Shoppers

geminoid-japanese-hiroshi-ishiguro.jpg“I see this as the future of shop displays,” commented Dr. Ishiguro gesturing to window display made up of traditional, static mannequins. “They don’t represent real life at all, which is what I see as the point of some displays”.

Takashimiya department store in Tokyo, Japan has teamed up with Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro, creator of the Geminoid line of android robots. Together they have created a very special Valentine’s Day window display for the up-town shopping location: A lifelike female android capable of four main emotional states and displaying more than sixty facial expressions.

Utilizing Microsoft’s Kinect motion control system to ‘see’ faces and gauge reactions, the faux female is not programmed to react to each individual as most automatons do, but rather play to the crowd as a whole. “We have tried to make it more lifelike through not programming her to react to every shopper in sudden movements but in a more natural way and arranged her in a pose as if waiting for someone,” Dr. Ishiguro explained.

Source: Japan Trends

St. Valentine’s Day Gift Guide–Geek Style, not Geeky!

license2play_domonerdwithheartglassesValentine’s Day is just a short calendar jump away and you need a great gift for your special sweetie. The problem is most geek themed Valentine gift guides suck. (Worse, the regular ones aren’t much better). If you and your significant other are both geeks, you shouldn’t exactly have a problem. Head on over to ThinkGeek.com and call it a day.

This guide is for geeks whose snuggle bunnies tend to the more ‘normal’ side of the tracks. You want to express yourself with something different and unique without beating them over the head about how much of a nerd you are. You want something that’ll get the tongues wagging at her office about what an inventive and thoughtful guy you are without letting on that you sleep with an Xbox controller under your pillow.

In an effort to help out our befuddled brothers the staff of Growing Up Otaku is pushing past the heart shaped chocolate and ‘I Wuv U’ plushies to uncover some gifts to make your token of devotion stand out while not screaming “I found this on a web site sporting a giant, fire-breathing, robot baby!” We’ve even gone the extra mile to sniff out what’s on sale! Who do ya love, baby?

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Rebuilt in Minecraft, Hyrulecraft Map Available for Download

hyrulecraft Hyrulecraft has been released to the pubic in an ‘alpha’ state after nine months of building and playtesting,. Boasting an exact scale replica of the classic N64 action-adventure, the team has posted the completed map on Mediafire as a free download for all.

What’s next for Hyrulecraft? The team is turning its attention towards Stage 2 of this epic project. With an estimated release date of “later this year”, the HC team hopes to create a MMO experience in Minecrafte complete with quests, NPCs, dungeons, free build zones, and guilds. Check out their game page on GenGame.net.

Behind the Blog: February 1, 2012

Behind Blog button

Still kicking! The first month of a new year brought a whole new world of adventure to GUO: GUO’s GoTY award, new gadgets from CES, predictions for the future, the SOPA thing, and our weekly look at high flying technology finally got a well deserved name. Oh, and we might have rebuilt the feature formerly known as GUO Digest as well. Click on through for a fireside chat about everything that went in to, and came out of, our content from January.